Hip Hop is often given negative press with the mainstream portraying cliched stereotypes, very rarely is the culture we all love given credit for the positive effort put into our communities and Hip Hop’s ability to spread a message, but here is one of those positive movements to get behind and help make a difference.
What first started as selling T shirts back in 2014, fast forward to December last year the humble veteran emcee Chester P from London crew Task Force renowned for his lyricism and also respected poet and spoken word artist continued to shine a light and keep homelessness and poverty in every ones attention.
This came in two forms, a full length documentary following Chester P along his journey through Hip Hop, Homelessness and the Housing Crisis. Featuring Focus E15, Love Activists, New Era Estate residents, Streets Kitchen plus many more. The documentary is Directed by Greg Hall, Produced by Tripwire Productions with Original Music by Django Mankub
Please take the time to watch and listen here
Also via Chester’s record label Real Talk Records he assembled a who’s who of UK talent to what only can be described as possibly the best compilation album to come out of the UK. Available to download for just £7 featuring 26 exclusive tracks with 100% of the proceeds going towards helping the homeless. Get it here and do something good!
I really wanted to support this project since it dropped and had always planned to get this posted as soon as i was able to get the site active again. I was also keen to find out what progress has been made so I fired over a few quick questions to Chess and was humbled by his prompt and in depth reply here’s what he had to say to my questions….
How much has the project raised so far?
“Well this project being the compilation LP featuring 26 tracks from artist all across the UK, has exceeded £6000, the tee shirt project in 2014 made £1200 this is profit in both cases.”
What has the money enabled you to buy so far?
“Starting with the 2014 effort all of that money basically funded 200 sleeping bags, 100 pairs of sox and boxer shorts. The current project has supplied 300 sleeping bags, 500 pairs of socks, 200 boxer shorts, 30 tee shirts, 10 hoodies, 4 five litre flasks, 200 sachets of hot chocolate, 100 sachets of coffee, 200 paper cups and lids, and a couple packs of plastic spoons all of this gets distributed around London as frequently as possible.”
Where have you distributed to the homeless across the UK so far and any other plans to visit anywhere else?
“Firstly I gotta say a massive big up to Inja for driving us to all the following places as well as helping distribute the sleeping bags and donating not one but two tracks to the album, THANK YOU INJA! We have taken 50 sleeping bags to Birmingham, 50 to Manchester where myself, Inja and Konny Kon distributed them, and Jun Tzu met up with us later that night with a big bag of food for us, and finally 50 to Bristol where myself Twizzy, Jinx (both from the mighty trio called 3 headed beast), a lovely lady called Sammy and a dear friend of mine Lauren (also known as ladelle) handed them out. I am working on setting people up to do the same thing I’m doing in London in other cities across the UK, so far Twizzy and Jinx are doing great work in Bristol after I sent them a 5L flask, 100 socks, hot chocs and coffees and cups, they are also sourcing jumpers and hats and tee shirts through there own initiative, I would really like to hit Scotland and Ireland next time round.
The UK Hip Hop community have been very supportive in contributing tracks, are any involved in helping distribute to the homeless?
“The whole movement has been about Hip Hop in general, all the artists donated tracks free of charge, mixed and mastered, from old school legends like Black Twang, Life and Nappa and more, to current legends like Jam Baxter, Dirty Dike, The 4 Owls , to some up and coming legends like Physiks and Rhymeskeems, (anyone’s names I haven’t mentioned it’s not selective it’s all love to every single artist who contributed to this effort).
“I wanted to involve artists from all eras and parts of the UK and I am proud of the result on Hip Hops behalf. It’s a Hip Hop movement and I understand it’s not everyone’s mind state and don’t expect it to be, I do not try and inflict it on anyone, I do what I do for a few reasons, the first and most important reason is a genuine effort to help people worse of than myself whom society has apparently abandoned, the second reason is I hope it inspires those who it resonates with to see clearly that we the community can do so much for each other period, it’s just a basic initiative a little will power, time and effort and bobs your proverbial uncle, the third reason is I am trying to unite Hip Hop as a community via the act of positive movement, and lastly I do it because i can. Any one can, you can buy 100 pairs of socks, a 5L flask, 100 hot chocs, 100 coffees and cups for £110 roughly, all from eBay and Amazon, that is a great kit that can be used to help a great number of people, how much is a quarter of skunk? How many rappers talk about social climate? How many talk about smoking weed? How many can see my point? Ultimately the choice is the individuals.”
Anything else you would like to add?
“I would like to say THANK YOU to everyone along the way, Greg Hall and the whole Tripwire production team who really made the documentary what it is, thanks to all the artists for there art, thanks to Drew and Jimmy at Brain food media, thanks to everyone who supported the cause financially by either buying the products or kindly donating money, thanks to Sean who has had my sleeping bags collected,freighted and delivered from China to my storage unit on both occasions, and generally just offer my humble gratitude to all.”
“I have a new project in the pipelines and enough money to function all year in this way and even fund sleeping bags for next year. I don’t want kudos, appraisal or rewarding. I’m still the same old me, just evolved slightly out of talking about what I see wrong with the world and opinionating myself un-negotiably regarding my views, and instead I act on what I see wrong with the world and have learnt that opinions are what stump our intelligence, community spirit is so important, helping each other out, help your elderly neighbours carry there shopping, help someone struggling up flights of stairs with a pram containing child, little things like that build up community spirit, be polite and respect other people, accept we all have our own reality tunnel and we have all grown via personal experiences meaning what you perceive may not be (and usually isn’t) what (or how) the next person perceives. Respect that without condescending or judging, understanding each other leads to empathy, empathy leads to a nicer environment. All of this can be applied to every situation in life. But again these choices are down to the individual, do we wave a flag, wear the badge and sing the theme tune but never support the cause with actions? Or do we act on things and not worry about flags, badges and theme tunes? Or do you not give a shit about any of it and get on with whatever floats your boat? Whatever you choose I respect that decision.
Real Talk is a movement
Not just a Label.”
Once again a big Thank You to Chester P for not only the wise words but also the prompt and detailed update. Please Support!!
Chester P Performs ‘The Homeless Song’ for Going Underground on RT
Chester P discussing Hip Hop, Homelessness and the Housing crisis on RT
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